Looking for suggestions on brands of aquarium heaters to use in a fermentation chamber I've built.

My set-up is a 60 qt Igloo cooler with a custom foam insulation top cut to allow for a 5 to 6.5 gallon carboy. Fill it up with about 5-6 gallons of water. I have a Johnson Digital Temperature Controller with a thermowell. During the summer I'll use the temp controller to just monitor the temperature and use frozen water bottles floating in the water to help keep the carboy at the right temperature. But, since its the winter months now I want to use an aquarium heater to heat up the water to keep the temp consistent. I'm thinking I would only need a 50w heater and possibly a small aquarium water pump to help circulate the water.

Doe anyone have any suggestions of heaters that they have used successfully? Preferably one that they have hooked up to a digital temp controller

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    Extensive research and talking to people who have used them, this seems to be one of the better ones, EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 50W
    – HopHead73
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 19:19
  • I used those heaters a lot for actual aquariums and they are great. They have their own thermostat and are fully submersible (they actually MUST be fully submersed)
    – stew
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 3:05

3 Answers 3


I use a bucket heater hooked up to a temperature controller. I also use a small aquarium pump to circulate the water when the heater is on. What I like about this is they are designed to brings buckets up to a boil, so they put out a lot of heat. This means that even if I wanted to do a larger water bath (i.e. several fermentors) or go higher for a saison it can handle it.

  • my variation on this was inspired by this: seattlefoodgeek.com/2010/02/…. I use the smaller elements referenced in the article. circulation is not need since they don't dump much heat.
    – mmccoo
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 5:56
  • I was less concerned about dumping a ton of heat, but more having an even distribution of heat. Of course once you get all the stuff for heating a water bath for brewing, you also have almost all you need to do sous vide (though sous vide typically uses more precise controllers than brewing). Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 19:00

I use a small hairdryer which is connected to my STC-1000 which can switch on a heater as well as a cooler.

I looked into this same question sometime ago when one winter the temperature in my fermentation chamber became too cold and fermentation slowed to a stop.

My fermentation chamber is a chest freezer, which the STC will switch on (to cool) in summer. When winter came I had trouble with the temp going too low, so I did quite a bit of reading on the various solutions (some of which are totally over the top and expensive in my opinion). Eventually I settled on a small hairdryer which was cheap and easy to use and connect to the STC. The hair dryer works well because it's many short bursts of heat over a long time. And not like other solutions constant heat that carries on heating well after the unit has switched it off and also tends to unequally heat the chamber. I.e. Favors one side of the vessel over another. After two days I took internal temp readings of the wort and it was exactly what they needed to be.

I actually found that the air dryer kept a better constant temperature (after it had a chance to heat the vessel for a day or two) than any other unit tried. It's gradual heating of the unit also meant there was no shock to the wort.


I purchased an adjustable temp submersible heater which I used to keep a cooler of water warm while I grew koji spores on rice for making sake. It worked quite well and being able to adjust the temp right on the heater made life easy. I think the lowest temp it can give is 72F though.

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